Five reasons to visit Hampton Court (by Robert, aged 9)

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The Palace, picture provided by Historic Royal Palaces
The Palace, picture provided by Historic Royal Palaces

My class and I were lucky enough to go on a school trip to Hampton Court, which is one of the 50 palaces that Henry VIII lived in during the Tudor times (although it was built by Thomas Wolsey, who was Henry’s chief minister). It was later a home for Henry’s daughter, Elizabeth and Charles II. It is also celebrating its 500th anniversary this year!

These were the highlights of my trip:
1) The Kitchen Tours
The kitchen tours were a really fun way to learn about Tudor food plus you got to touch everything you saw. But when you go, maybe don’t touch the fire!
We had a brilliant tour guide who was extremely funny and told us loads of facts. For example: did you know that instead of making 600 individual bowls of soup, the cooks built a giant hole around a metre deep and around 80 cm in width? It looked so cool.
And, did you know that a low class servant would get 4 kg of meat, two loaves of bread and four pints of beer for one meal twice a day? At feasts everything was made from sugar – the plates, cutlery and glasses, even the chessboard. After you took an opponent’s piece, you got to eat it as it was made of marzipan. Also if you had a battle ship that you loved. you could tell Henry, and his cooks would make a two metre long model of your ship out of sugar and marzipan.

The kitchen tours were one of my favourite parts of the day, but I would try and get a tour guide too, or otherwise  an audio guide for the kitchens as there weren’t many boards or posters with facts on.

The great Hall at Hampton Court
The Great Hall at Hampton Court, picture courtesy of Historic Royal Palaces

2) Ghost hunting
If you go to Hampton Court, be sure to look out for ghosts. Over the years there have been many ghost sightings, including three of Henry VIII’s wives, and the class who went on the trip a year before us told us that they felt the presence of one. Watch the Hampton Court video to find out more about these ghostly visitors!

The ghosts that are supposed to be there include Jane Seymour, Catherine Howard and Sybil Penn, a royal nurse who is often described as the “Grey Lady” and who looked after Elizabeth I when she fell ill from smallpox. Sybil died from the illness, but she didn’t start haunting Hampton Court until her nearby grave was disturbed in the 19th century.

Sadly we didn’t see any ghouls and the man who did the kitchen tours thought it was a bunch of utter nonsense! However, I think you should definitely look for some if you go to this iconic palace.

3) Henry’s Apartments
In Henry’s apartment there were loads of ways to find facts, by reading, doing and watching. I really liked the room where there was a screen in each corner as there was a person on each screen and they were all having a conversation. There were Tudor games to play, paintings to look at and a throne in each room. The audio guide was great as it asked you lots of questions and gave the point of view of different Tudor characters.

4) The maze

The Hampton Court maze is probably the most famous one in the world! It was planted in the 17th century when William and Mary were on the throne and more than 300,000 visit it each year. It is really good fun, but it is not very easy to get out of…

5) The Chapel and Young Henry Exhibition

For me the young Henry exhibition was not as good and not very informative, so only go to that near the end. However, I did really enjoy being in the chapel. You got to see what a proper Tudor church looked like. It was amazing.

Overall, Hampton Court was a great day, I found out so much and there were lots of places to have a little bit of fun. There was also grass as far as the eye could see.

A visit to Hampton Court to see the Palace, maze and gardens (plus audio guide, children’s trail and more) costs £19.30 per adults (£18.20 if booked online) and £9.70 for children under 16 (£9.10 if booked online). A family ticket is £48.20, or £44.90. That’s for up to two adults and three children.

It’s located in Richmond in Surrey, which is just outside London

Funnily enough, back in 1661: Charles II was crowned King on this very day! He spent his honeymoon with his wife, Katherine of Braganza, at Hampton Court.

More by me:

A visit to Dr Johnson’s House

A visit to the Churchill War Rooms

We are so happy to have been shortlisted for the Bibs (Brilliance in Blogging Awards) for 2015, but we really need your help to get through to the final 5. Please could you visit this link (http://www.britmums.com/2015/04/vote-for-you-favourite-bloggers-bibs2015/) and then scroll down to travel and then us (Family Travel Times)? We’d be so grateful. You don’t have to vote in all categories, though there are lots of great blogs in there!

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25 Responses

  1. Linda Hobbis

    Robert, you write really well. I was intrigued about so much sugar and marzipan being used. I thought it was us current Elizabethans who were the only ones eating too much sugar! Obviously not. I’d have been looking for ghosts too.

  2. Galina V

    I would have loved to have a tour of the kitchens and listen to the Tudor food lecture. I’m a bit confused about the stats: 4kg of meat twice a day? That sounds like a huge amount to eat? 🙂

  3. Rebecca

    This is somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit and this post has made me more determined to go – adding it to the summer plans!

  4. Lori

    I’ve never been to Hampton court but now I know there’s a maze there I’ll definitely have to take my son, e would love it x

  5. Christine

    Hi Robert, I’m glad you enjoyed your school trip, the kitchen tour sounds great. We still like to remind our son of our visit as he managed to set off the burglar alarm in the art exhibition (Triumphs of Caesar). The security guard told us all about the paintings and how valuable they were!

  6. kara

    I have always wanted to visit Hampton Court – not convinced the little ones will enjoy it though

  7. Tamara

    Great post Robert! I’m amazed by how many facts you were able to remember to include in this post.

  8. Rachel

    I would love to visit Hampton Court one day, especially after reading this. There is nothing quite like reading/seeing the world from a kid’s viewpoint, it’s very refreshing to read. And you write very well!

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